Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||James Bridges|
|Produced by||Irving Azoff
|Written by||James Bridges
|Based on||Story by
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||132 minutes|
|Box office||$53,300,000 (USA)|
Urban Cowboy is a 1980 American western romantic drama film about the love-hate relationship between Buford Uling Davis 'Bud' (John Travolta) and Sissy (Debra Winger). The movie captured the late 1970s/early 1980s popularity of Country Music with John Travolta's starring after Grease and Saturday Night Fever.
'Bud' Davis moves from the small town of Spur, Texas to Pasadena, Texas, located near the heavily industrial eastern side of Houston, and a better paying job in the city's oil refinery in hopes of saving enough money to move back to his hometown and buy some land. Bud moves in with his Uncle Bob (Barry Corbin) and his family, whom Bud is close to. Bob takes Bud to the local honky tonk, Gilley's (at the time, an actual bar in Pasadena, co-owned by singer Mickey Gilley and his record producer Sherwood Cryer which was then claimed to be the largest indoor (enclosed) bar in the world.). Bud quickly embraces the local nightlife there. Most of the events take place in and around Gilley's.
At the club, Bud is approached by Sissy (Debra Winger), who asks if he is a real cowboy. The two dance together, showcasing Travolta's dancing abilities, and they fall in love. After a fight, Bud suddenly asks Sissy if she wants to marry him, and they are married in Gilley's. Bud and Sissy have many lovers' quarrels, some very intense, mainly due to their different views of men and women in society. Sissy is a fiery independent woman, with a strong belief that anything men can do women can do, while Bud still believes in very traditional gender roles, and that "there are just some things girls can't do." However, their love for each other always brings them back together again. Their lives settle into a routine of hard work during the day and living it up at Gilley's during the night. (The movie's tagline is "Hard hat days and honky-tonk nights.")
The movie also highlights the many fights between cowboys at Gilley's and the mechanical bull, which leads to a break-up of Bud and Sissy's relationship, and to Sissy moving in with Bud's arch-rival, Wes (Scott Glenn). Bud seeks solace with Pam (Madolyn Smith).
Pam eventually realizes that Bud still loves Sissy and encourages him to reconcile with her. Meanwhile, Wes has been beating Sissy, and then steals the prize money from the bull riding competition, resulting in a fight with Bud. Bud punches Wes and all of the money that Wes had stolen falls from his jacket. The club's manager, discovering the attempted robbery, detains Wes at gunpoint. Bud and Sissy finally depart Gilley's (the source and location of most of their troubles) together.
- John Travolta as Bud Davis
- Debra Winger as Sissy Davis
- Scott Glenn as Wes Highhtower
- Madolyn Smith as Pam
- Barry Corbin as Uncle Bob Davis
- Brooke Alderson as Aunt Corene Davis
- Cooper Huckabee as Marshall
- James Gammon as Steve Strange
- Steve Strange as Sam Strange
- Mickey Gilley as Himself
- Johnny Lee as Himself
- Bonnie Raitt as Herself
- Charlie Daniels as Himself
- Ellen March as Becky
- Jessie La Rive as Jessie
The film's screenplay was adapted by Aaron Latham and James Bridges from an article in a men's magazine on Western nightlife written by Latham. The movie was directed by Bridges. Some film critics referred to the movie as a country music version of Saturday Night Fever. The film grossed almost $47 million in the United States alone, and recovered Travolta from the flop "Moment by Moment" (1978), but the film was nowhere near as successful as either "Saturday Night Fever" ($94 million) or "Grease" ($188 million).
Critical reception 
The film received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie received a 77% "Fresh" rating. "Urban Cowboy is not only most entertaining but also first-rate social criticism," said Vincent Canby of The New York Times. Variety's staff members wrote, "Director James Bridges has ably captured the atmosphere of one of the most famous chip-kicker hangouts of all: Gilley's Club on the outskirts of Houston."
The movie spawned a hit soundtrack album featuring such songs as "Lookin' for Love" by Johnny Lee, "Stand by Me" by Mickey Gilley, "Look What You've Done to Me" by Boz Scaggs, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band, "Could I Have This Dance" by Anne Murray, and "Love The World Away" by Kenny Rogers. The film is said to have started the 1980s boom in pop-country music known as the "Urban Cowboy Movement" also known as Neo-Country or Hill Boogie.
|Soundtrack album by Various Artists|
|Label||Full Moon, Asylum|
|Producer||Irving Azoff (exec.)|
- Hello Texas – Jimmy Buffett (2:33)
- All Night Long – Joe Walsh (3:50)
- Times Like These – Dan Fogelberg (3:02)
- Nine Tonight – Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band (6:35)
- Stand by Me – Mickey Gilley (3:35)
- Cherokee Fiddle – Johnny Lee (4:06)
- Could I Have This Dance – Anne Murray (3:14)
- Lyin' Eyes – The Eagles (6:23)
- Lookin' for Love – Johnny Lee (3:41)
- Don't it Make You Want to Dance – Bonnie Raitt (3:29)
- The Devil Went Down to Georgia – Charlie Daniels Band (3:35)
- Here Comes the Hurt Again – Mickey Gilley (2:41)
- Orange Blossom Special / Hoedown – Gilley's "Urban Cowboy" Band (2:06)
- Love the World Away – Kenny Rogers (3:11)
- Falling in Love for the Night – Charlie Daniels Band (3:00)
- Darlin' – Bonnie Raitt (2:34)
- Look What You've Done to Me – Boz Scaggs (5:39)
- Hearts Against the Wind – Linda Ronstadt with J.D. Souther (2:58)
Chart performance 
|U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums||1|
|U.S. Billboard 200||3|
|Canadian RPM Country Albums||2|
|Canadian RPM Top Albums||21|
Music Man by Waylon Jennings
Horizon by Eddie Rabbitt
|Top Country Albums number-one album
August 2 – September 6, 1980
September 20–27, 1980
Horizon by Eddie Rabbitt
Honeysuckle Rose by Willie Nelson
See also 
- Vincent Canby (1980). "John Travolta, Urban Cowboy". The New York Times. Text "6" ignored (help); Text "11" ignored (help)
- Huynh, Dai. "Restaurateur Mama Ninfa dies." Houston Chronicle. Monday June 18, 2001. A1. Retrieved on February 5, 2012.
- "Urban Cowboy - Rotten Tomatoes". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "Movie Review - Urban Cowboy - TRAVOLTA, 'URBAN COWBOY' - NYTimes.com". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "Variety Reviews - Urban Cowboy - Film Reviews - - Review by Variety Staff". Variety.com. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Urban Cowboy|
- Urban Cowboy at the Internet Movie Database
- Urban Cowboy at the Internet Broadway Database
- Urban Cowboy at Rotten Tomatoes
- Production: Urban Cowboy – Working in the Theatre Seminar video at American Theatre Wing.org, April 2003